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Apple TV To Feature Twitter And Its Live NFL Games

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Twitter had the leg up on Facebook last year, when the two rivals went toe to toe over which will have the rights to live-stream the National Football League games on Thursday nights.

As the NFL saw the disadvantages in other offers, Twitter was granted the rights.

For example, Facebook proposed tough terms for the League, such as selling all the ads that would air during the games. This would have meant a total meltdown for the commercial relationship between marketers and the NFL.

On the other hand, Twitter got the rights to stream 10 games, for which it paid the NFL about $10 million, while also agreeing to sell just a slice of the ads in full exclusivity. The company acknowledges the immense popularity of the games aired each Thursday night, which attracted 13 million viewers per game during the last season.

The first streaming is scheduled for Sept. 15, and then Twitter will be able to assess how sustainable its purchase was, and if live streaming will indeed bring a consistent revenue stream.

This is not the first live streaming deal that Twitter inked this year. The company also has partnerships with the Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, Wimbledon, Pac-12 Networks and CBS News.

Insiders from the company hinted that Twitter is undergoing negotiations with other big names such as the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and the Major League Soccer (MLS) to pursue the same kind of agreements.

Facebook refused to make any official statements regarding the NFL talks, and the same mum response came from the PGA and the MLS.

Twitter has huge stakes in live streaming, as the purchase of transmission rights is essential to making itself a mainstream internet destination. By embracing live coverage of sports events, Twitter could appeal to a wider audience than its loyal fan base.

Last, but not least, the live events could help the company increase revenue from video ads. By focusing on delivering football or basketball games on Twitter's mobile apps and on desktop computers, the increased number of viewers could translate into surging numbers of video ads, which in turn could help the company turnover a great profit.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is of the opinion that streaming is critical to the company's march towards "live" experiences. Another part of this strategy is the launch of the enterprise's Periscope. The app, which is owned by Twitter, permits smartphone users to live stream video.

What is more, Twitter is purportedly in discussion with Apple so that the micro-blogging app lands to Apple TV, meaning that the millions of Apple TV owners could have prime access to streaming NFL games. In 2015, a report indicated that Apple is pondering upon a bid for exclusive NFL rights itself, but the company dropped the offer.

Neither Twitter, nor Apple commented on the rumors.

Twitter is not the only tech company accelerating its efforts to take a bite out of the live streaming pie. Facebook and Snapchat are in talks with media companies for the purchase of live streaming rights to entertainment and sporting events. Instagram dabbles into live products experiments, and every single venture has its eyes on video advertising dollars.

This only shows that times have changed and marketers see more growth potential in online videos than in traditional television ads.

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